Introvert and adventure - two words that you rarely see together. Until now. Whether you’re a bookworm at heart, a contemplative thinker or simply cherish your alone time, being an introvert shouldn’t put your adventure plans on hold. Thanks to this guide, you’ll learn how to embrace your introverted ways whilst travelling solo as well as how to choose the right destinations and Workaway projects.
Am I an Introvert?
Some people are born introverts. While others, it depends on the situation or people they’re with. Generally, an introvert is a personality type of someone who prefers solitude and less social interaction. They feel most comfortable in quiet environments and may find social situations draining.
However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t join Workaway
. It just means spending a little more time finding the right destination and the right project. Introverts may enjoy deep, one on one conversations and feel more at ease in smaller, more intimate social settings.
This means Workaway projects in nature, outdoors or off grid are ideal. Projects in party hostels? Not so much. If you’re nodding along thinking “yep, that’s me!” It's time to learn how not to let being an introvert hold you back.
Why Travel Shouldn't Be Avoided as an Introvert
Announcing your Workaway plans to friends and family will always raise eyebrows and questions - even if you’re not an introvert. We’ve all heard the “Aren’t you scared?” and “Staying with a stranger! Are you mad!?” questions, but here’s why you should feel the fear and do it anyway
- Personal Growth: Travel challenges you to adapt, be resourceful, and learn about different cultures. This will do wonders for your personal growth (which conveniently, does wonders for your professional skillset too!)
- Self-Discovery: It can be difficult to escape routine and familiarity as an introvert. However, by exploring new environments and meeting diverse people, you will gain a deeper understanding of your preferences, your strengths and most importantly - yourself.
- Building Resilience: Travelling as an introvert teaches you to navigate unfamiliar situations and handle unexpected challenges, which can boost your resilience and confidence.
- Cultural Enrichment: Although pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is never easy, it will prove rewarding. Travelling exposes you to diverse cultures, traditions, and lifestyles. This helps build empathy, open-mindedness, and a broader perspective on the world instead of the comfortable bubble we like to keep ourselves in.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Workaway Experience as an Introvert
Before Your Trip...
First things first, destination selection is crucial for introverted solo travellers because it sets the tone for the entire travel experience. Choosing the right destination can significantly impact your comfort, enjoyment, and well-being.
Good job we have over 170 countries to choose from
Introverts tend to recharge by spending time in solitude or engaging in quieter, less stimulating environments. This means it's best to choose a Workaway project in quiet, less crowded destinations
(like these underrated countries
) and during off-peak travel times
. Small towns or villages are also ideal as these often offer a slower pace of life, a sense of community, and opportunities for genuine interactions with locals.
If you’re an introvert, the items you take with you on your Workaway can significantly enhance your trip by providing a sense of comfort, familiarity, and emotional support. These personal touches serve as a safety net in unfamiliar environments, overall helping you to feel grounded and less anxious.
Familiar items, such as a favourite book, pillow, or even a cosy jumper, can offer comfort in times of homesickness or social fatigue. For some people, packing these comforts can reduce the stress of adapting to a new place, allowing introverts to feel at ease with their host sooner.
It’s also important to note that while these home comforts can help, you don’t need to pack your entire bedroom. Pack these essentials for your Workaway
plus one or two favourite items from home but keep it to a minimum. Packing light reduces the mental and physical burden of managing excess stuff, overall decreasing stress and anxiety during your trip.
Now you have packing and places covered, it’s time to tackle projects. Selecting a meaningful Workaway project that aligns with your interest and passions will make it easier to engage and contribute.
We recommend reading our guide on the different types of volunteering
which even includes a fun quiz that can help determine your perfect project.
Projects within hostels
or busy schools
may prove challenging. Some introverts may prefer the isolation of life at sea
, while others would dread a sailing project with limited space to be alone. It’s entirely up to your preference. With 50,000+ Workaway projects to choose from you won’t struggle to find your perfect match.
Our final tip before you set off is learning a few local phrases. Introverts may feel anxious in social situations, especially when there's a language barrier, so by being prepared with a few phrases it will help boost confidence, reduce anxiety, and make interactions smoother
. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find a language buddy through Workaway
! Overall, this will help you connect with locals
and make the most of your experience as it provides a sense of control and self-assuredness in unfamiliar environments.
While on Workaway...
Now you’re prepared with tips for planning your trip, it’s time to note what will help you make the most of your Workaway experience while on the road.
Commiunication is Key
Afterall, you’ll be staying with a stranger so it’s important to ask your host these questions
at the start then communicate clearly throughout. Let your host know you need alone time to recharge and that you’re not simply hiding in your room being rude.
They’ll respect your preferences and completely understand that not everyone is a social butterfly. Your host may even be an introvert too!
Plan Quiet Activities
Generally hosts ask for support up to 5 hours a day, 5 days a week although this varies. During your “downtime” plan activities that fill your cup. This may be hiking or visiting art galleries. It may be reading or baking. Your host will likely have a wealth of suggestions so let them know how you like to spend your free time.
Find a Travel Buddy
Who says travelling solo means you will be alone? Finding fellow introverts can really help boost your confidence and communication.
There are many low-pressure ways to find a travel buddy
that don’t involve beer bong or big nights out. Having a handful of trusted travel buddies can help with offering advice and ways to navigate situations you struggle with. Not to mention they’re the perfect people to recommend projects or places that you’d also enjoy.
Challenge Yourself Gently
Stepping out of your comfort zone is important, but there’s no need for all or nothing. Baby steps will help to avoid overwhelm. This will still make your experience rewarding but just a little more manageable.
For example, why not try Workaway in your home country
first? This will allow you to experience staying with a host but with a few familiarities like your native language or a similar culture. Or, why not try house sitting
instead of a Workaway project. With house sitting it’s usually just furry friends you have for company so you can still experience a new country without the pressure of social interaction from hosts or other volunteers.
After Your Workaway...
Recharge and reflect
While having a detailed plan can help provide peace of mind and keep you feeling in control, it’s important to allocate time for solitude and downtime in your itinerary. This ensures you have opportunities to recharge and reflect on your experiences.
A great way to do this is by keeping a travel journal. It acts as a private space for you to reflect on your emotions and experiences while also capturing those precious memories on paper. You’ll be able to look back at your journal and admire your personal growth as well as refer to how you handled struggles and situations for next time.
Another way to recharge, is to choose Workaway projects of varying levels of social interaction
. Perhaps support an environmental project
then house sit
for a while, support an animal welfare project
then head off grid
. One of the many wonderful things about Workaway is that our projects are so diverse, each with different levels of human engagement, so you can still support others and be part of a valuable cultural exchange while taking time for yourself when needed
Quality Over Quantity
On a similar note, focus on the quality of your interactions and contributions rather than quantity. Essentially, this means to stop counting countries and learn why it’s important to travel slowly
. This approach ensures less overwhelm and will guarantee deeper more meaningful connections which can be more fulfilling for introverts
Leverage Those Introvert Strengths
Finally, remember that being an introvert is not a bad thing. It’s not a trait that needs to be “cured” or “fixed.” In fact, your ability to listen, observe, and reflect can be valuable in a Workaway setting. Use these strengths to your advantage when volunteering. Don’t feel pressured to push yourself way out of your comfort zone every minute of the day. Instead, opt for projects that suit your unique skills and interests. You can still make a significant impact without being the life and soul of the party (or project!)
Hopefully this post has helped you realise that travel isn’t just reserved for extroverts. It’s for every kindred spirit who seeks to discover, connect and grow. Your quiet strengths and unique perspective can make your Workaway journey even more enriching. Once you choose the right destination and find projects that resonate, the world really is your oyster. It’s time to stop the excuse of “being an introvert” from a lifetime of adventure. You got this!